Athletic Bilbao are preparing to pounce on Mikel Merino if Newcastle United are relegated and are willing to provide the Magpies with a profit, according to a report.
GOL digital claim that the Spanish club are still gutted about missing out on Merino in the summer when the player opted to join Newcastle United instead.
Merino has played 15 times for the Magpies this season in the Premier League, scoring one goal, and has impressed fans already in his short time at the club.
The midfielder originally joined Newcastle United on loan from Borussia Dortmund, but the clubs agreed to a permanent deal in October.
The report claims Athletic Bilbao believe Newcastle paid in the region of £7million and expect to pay more in order to get the player.
Football Insider Verdict
Merino has established himself as a fan favourite at Newcastle United in such a short period time with his impressive performances. Magpies fans wouldn’t be able to cope with relegation and losing a player they rate highly at the same. Whether the Magpies would opt to sell the midfielder if relegated is another story. The Magpies could make profit of the midfielder and funds will be needed in order to strengthen the team for a promotion push. However, there’s a lot of ifs with this story as Newcastle will be looking to strengthen and move away from the wrong side of the table in January. And if they stay up, it’s unlikely they’ll let Merino leave.
In other Newcastle United news, Rafa Benitez is pushing hard for the Magpies to sign this proven Premier League performer.